The Rhythm Section
Starring Blake Lively as Stephanie Patrick,Jude Law as Iain Boyd, Sterling K. Brown as Marc Serra
Directed by Reed Morano
Rating: **(2 stars)
It isn’t right to bring up an actor’s family background while assessing his or her work. But it’s relevant here to point out that Blake Lively’s film is anything but lively.As opposed to her husband Ryan Reynolds who likes to be in happy film, Mrs Lively likes her cinema shaken and stirred.
She had sharks chasing her in The Shallows. She has an assortments of agents, counter-agents, terrorists and counter-terrorists pursuing her in this not-bad-but-not-good-enough thriller with a crackerjack central performance by Ms Lively as a depressed wretchedly disoriented Londoner who loses her entire family to an airborne bombing. Rather than seek professional help she sets out to find the terrorists behind the bombing. Full marks for gumption and stupidity.
If you can swallow the heroine’s outrageous heroics, then move ahead. Otherwise chuck it right here.Unlike the other chic stylish female spies like Jennifer Lawrence in Red Sparrow and Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde, Blake Lively doesn’t play the high-stakes hijinks for glamour. She is raw hurting wounded and often ugly and desperate, so much so that at the very beginning of the film she misses the chance to shoot down the terrorist she’s looking for.
From this point of the action version of coitus interruptus, its pretty much downhill all the way, with Jude Law terribly miscast as some of kind of an agent who double crosses so many people that I am sure he himself forgets which side he is on.
Ditto the film. It moves in numbingly mysterious ways with the absurdities piling up to a point where we just can’t seem to care about Stephanie’s revenge. The plot moves from London to Madrid to New York but the narrative remain stubbornly static. The wheels-within-wheels creak and groan desperately in need of oiling. But the director opts for an extra-dry tone , rendering the film, rhythm less and eventually, pointless.By the time we reach the mandatory twist at the end we are so distanced from Stephanie’s pain as to find it redundant.
Blake Lively’s visceral performance helps us stay watchful till the end. Take her out and we are left with a spy thriller stripped off thrills by an over-written script .